Metaphor in Teeth
I spent six years as a vegetarian
anorexic. I also gave up gluten,
sugar, & dairy. This wasn’t as hard
as you’d think it’d be, because what
I’m not saying is that I spent this time
cranking my jaw open for an old man
in rubber gloves. He glued metal
to my teeth and miraculously,
I was full. What I mean is that I was
hungry but it hurt too much to eat.
What I mean is that I would go
to any length to mimic
my mother’s pristine smile.
What I mean is that closing the gap
in my teeth meant a new hole
had to open somewhere else.
i’ve been eating thanksgiving dinner for lunch for 28 days now. i eat one side dish at a time with a turkey sandwich. the turkey, i believe, has spoilt about a week ago, but i’m not entirely sure because i’ve forgotten what fresh turkey tastes like. in fact, the turkey could still be alive, or it could be dead longer than i’ve been alive. i keep eating but i can’t feel it in my stomach. my fingers are still sticky with yesterday’s cranberry sauce. so shiny was the aluminum can that i didn’t even bother to slide the log out. i pried the tin open with my teeth and dug in with greedy hands. the taste was disappointing; again, i felt nothing. i’m a bit embarrassed at my lack of composure, but not embarrassed enough to wash the red from my palms. tomorrow, i will contemplate the green beans. this must be what grief is. it must be.
Daryl Sznyter is the author of Synonyms for (OTHER) Bodies (NYQ Books). Her poetry has appeared in Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, Folio, The American Journal of Poetry, Best American Poetry Blog, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from The New School. Visit darylsznyter.com to learn more about her.